Human Rights

Child Labor Behind Supermaket Goods

A Swedish supermarket chain has come under fire for sourcing from suppliers in Southeast Asia that have serious flaws in the working conditions for their employees, reports newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Child labor and locked fire exits have been reported by inspectors in many of the factories. Forced labor is also suspected.

These kinds of problems can continue until the multinational buyer, Intercoop, carries out the next inspection, three to six months later.

In charge of Coop's quality and environment, Per Rosengren, says, "It doesn't work to make ad-hoc inspections, because it's a big geographical region. It requires planning. When it's an especially serious problem, one must take care of it immediately, but our experience is that it often requires legal proceedings. And that takes a long time."

The chain sources from many factories in Southeast Asia that have been reported to have one or more of these problems. Over a dozen of them supply Coop's stores in Sweden with goods like toys, shoes, clothes and household items.

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